Larry Lampert, the auto parts entrepreneur and pitchman-turned-prolific restaurateur, passed away earlier this month from pancreatic cancer. Lampert was 66 years old.
Though he made his fortune in a chain of auto parts stores, Lampert's claim to fame was his signature catchphrase. "What's the story, Larry?" someone would ask in the stores' commercials. He'd reply, "You want it, I got it."Lampert brought that mindset with him to the restaurant business, an industry he approached with as much a entrepreneurial mindset as a love for food. Talkative and endlessly enthusiastic, he was always in search of the next big thing, beginning in the 1980s with pizza parlors and then a chain of sandwich shops called Fatman's Subs. Recognizing a demand for barbecue in town far before there was a smoker on every corner, Lampert began serving smoked meats at his sub shops, eventually converting them to full-fledged barbecue joints.
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